Authors: Bill Carson
All was deathly quiet beneath the bridge and they were quite snug, curled up in the bottom of the gently undulating little boat under the cold, dark arch of the bridge. Kane checked his watch for the last time. He was now ready to execute the last phase of the plan.
He slowly pushed his head out from under the tarpaulin sheet and took a quick look around. It was quiet enough, so he slowly emerged, sat up and fastened the straps of the rucksack around his chest. He climbed out of the boat, and scaled the slimy moss-covered steps which led up to the wooden jetty.
John reached the platform, opened up the rucksack, and heaved out the long, thick, heavy coil of rope. He dropped the rope on to the gangway and began to loop the rope over his shoulder, and then secured it around his waist. Next he climbed the steps of the bridge that led up to the roadside. As he neared the top, he could hear that there was still too much traffic buzzing around, so he had no choice but to go back down and rethink his strategy for a moment.
He sat on the deck of the damp jetty and rested his back against the
office, closely studying the archway for any means of attaching the rope, but this bridge was entirely different in construction from Westminster Bridge.
However, whilst scanning the arches he noticed that a little further out, and just off centre of the first archway, there was an old set of height warning lamps that were no longer in use. They looked as if they were securely anchored to the brickwork and, as he studied them, he wondered if they might just be able to hold the weight of a human.
How the hell am I going to get up there?
he thought. He glanced at his watch and realised that he was rapidly running out of time.
He frantically searched the mooring platform of the jetty for something that might help. He came across a number of long boat hooks which were like thick, elongated snooker cues, but with vicious looking hooks attached to the ends. He quickly lashed two together and now had just about the right length to reach up to the lamps.
He hooked a loop of the rope around the end of the pole, and reached up from the furthest edge of the gangway. After a couple of abortive attempts he managed to hook the loop over the angle iron framework that the obsolete warning lamps were braced to. He jerked the rope a couple of times and then gave it one last hard tug, so that the rope had now secured itself good and tight. He then made his way back down the steps and into the small rowing boat, stripped back the tarpaulin and then rowed out to the column of the bridge. He attached a rope tether to one of the many rusty mooring rings that were anchored to the brickwork, and tied the other end of the guy rope to the prow of the small boat.
John slowly rowed back to the jetty and attached another long length of rope to one of the study wooden supports; the other end was tied to the prow of the boat. He hauled the judge to his feet. John picked up the end of the thick rope that was now firmly secured above, and placed the noose around the judge’s neck. He tugged on the rope a couple of times to make sure that it was a snug fit. John climbed out onto the wooden cross beams under the pleasure boat pier, and called out, “My job is now almost done and these will be your last moments on earth. As the tide begins to go out, the water level will fall considerably, and the boat will drop with it but you will not. You will be hanged by the neck until you are dead, and may God have mercy on your soul.” John released the knot that was securing the small boat to the broad wooden beam. The small craft gently drifted toward the bridge with the retreating tide and abruptly came to a halt under the arch, where it was held perfectly in position by the two guy ropes.
John stared at the disturbing black shape picked out against the backdrop of the silver shimmering surface of the water. Only ten minutes remained until low tide, he stood and observed the judge for a moment, and wondered what was going through the old boy’s mind. He gave him a quick salute and sensed that he had seen him do it. Then he climbed back onto the platform of the jetty and retrieved his rucksack before briskly walking along the towpath and headed toward Richmond Town.
Two minutes later he took a last glance over his shoulder, but could see nothing except total blackness beneath the bridge. He pulled his mobile from his pocket, and punched in 999 on the keypad.
“Hello, which service do you require?” the matter-of-fact operator said.
“This is John Kane, and if you want to save that judge I kidnapped you had better be quick. He’s hanging around under Kew Bridge” he said and then quickly ended the call.
He had not gone twenty yards when the strange buzzing sound that he had heard earlier returned once more. He was unable to decipher which direction it was coming from, as the irritating humming noise seemed to be coming from several directions at the same time. He jogged a little further along the towpath and as he reached a small clearing the buzzing become louder. Then a little louder, and now it was right overhead.
He looked around frantically and searched the dark sky. At last he spotted it, a black shiny mechanical
bug hovering right over him at fifty feet in the air. The black spherical spy drone was slowly pitching from side to side, its operator striving to obtain the best angle to view its target from. Its body heat detection real-time camera had now locked on, and was sending back the live images to the operator and Ryan’s
, which he was staring at in disbelief as he sat in the box van not two miles away.
The drone continued to dart and weave about above Kane, who decided to jog for a while, the artificial agent followed him every step of the way. There was simply no escaping the malevolent mechanical menace.
“Right, OK then, let’s see what you got!” John shouted.
John took off in a fast sprint. He pumped his arms and legs as hard as he could in an effort to outstay the thing, and he went flat out for almost two hundred yards. However, it stayed right on his tail. He decided to try and hide, and dived into some dense undergrowth that lined the river bank. After a minute or two he was sure that he’d out-foxed the thing as he couldn’t hear it. The sound had definitely gone, so he popped his head out of the large bush and took a look around. It hadn’t gone – it had just risen higher and was still hovering right over his position. It could see him, he knew that now, and was waiting for him to make his next move.
John was now forced into a dilemma as there was no way to get off the path, not for a mile or two anyway. By that time they would have cut him off and intercepted him, and so therefore he was more or less trapped. He couldn’t believe it, but there really was no apparent way out of this one. He couldn’t out-run the drone by going forward and he certainly couldn’t go back toward the bridge as it would be swarming with police by now. He couldn’t hide from it either.
He unclasped the rucksack and threw it to the ground in despondency, but as it toppled over the Berry pistol’s brass barrel tinkled against the concrete path. In all the excitement he’d clean forgotten about putting the thing in there. He quickly turned his back on the drone, picked up the flare gun and secreted it inside his jacket to keep it away from the prying eye. If the operator saw the weapon it would go to a higher altitude, and John wanted it to come in as close as possible. He looked down the path and noticed that at fifty yards ahead there was a small clearing. He started to make a run for it and his pursuer faithfully buzzed along after him, being lured unsuspectingly right into the trap.
“Come on, come on, that’s it, come to Daddy. Now just stay right there, you little bastard,” he said under his breath. As the bug whirred overhead to fix his position, John quickly knelt down and pulled the fat pistol from inside his jacket. The drone came in for a closer look. John quickly took aim and without another thought pulled the trigger.
The flare whooshed from the old brass pistol and left a thick golden shaft of sparks. John followed the trail and watched as the explosive shell struck dead centre on the fat body of the drone. For a millisecond the whole area became as bright as a summer’s day with the startling burst from the white phosphorescent explosion. John pulled his jacket up over his head and hunkered down as a heavy shower of sparks rained down upon him.
A satisfying smirk of victory of man over machine broke out across John’s face, and he thought that the powerful explosion must have completely destroyed the thing. He couldn’t believe his ears and eyes when, to his amazement, he saw the thing was still buzzing around.
What’s it bloody made of?
he wondered as he watched it slowly descend.
Just then a trail of pure white smoke began to puff out of its cracked casing, and it suddenly started to spin out of control, buzzing around uncontrollably,
all over the place like a fly trapped in a jam-jar.
Then, much to John’s delight, it began to spiral to the ground like an old fighter plane that had been shot down, a thick trail of smoke pouring from its body. John had to jump clear as it smashed into the pathway, and he was convinced that it had deliberately tried to target him with a last ditch kamikaze-style attack.
John crept toward it and viewed the wreckage of his odd-shaped hi tech stalker. The iris of its large ovoid camera lens was still operating, and was opening and closing and trying to focus on its conqueror. Its innards had spilled out from a huge hole in the side of its body and tiny circuit boards, wiring and pieces of its shattered plastic propellers lay strewn about. Some kind of hydraulic fluid began to pump from its severed cables. John ventured a little closer and peeked inside the strange, large insect-like craft, and deep within its body he could see a small green pulsating LED light which suddenly faded as the last remaining rotor blade whirred to a halt on one of its external motors.
As the last images blinked and stuttered across the screen of Ryan’s
, he could do nothing except watch its final broadcast which ended suddenly as the heel of John Kane’s boot permanently terminated the transmission.
However, it was all now too late for John, and the drone had indirectly done its job – not by relaying the footage back to the police but because of the flare that had shot it down. The huge low altitude air burst of the distress flare had attracted the attention of the police, who were rescuing the judge down by the bridge. Now some were swarming toward him, and he could clearly hear the excited yapping and squealing of the tracker dogs as they picked up his scent.
He looked back down the path and could see the intermittent flashes from the myriad of police torches. There was now no point in trying to run. There was nowhere to go. He’d be caught soon enough. He looked into the cold black depths of the river some twenty feet below him, and then lay flat on his back and glanced up into the star-encrusted sky and noted the constellation of Orion the Hunter as it sailed silently overhead, its gigantic stars sparkling and blinking against a black, crushed velvet backdrop.
He lay still and waited for his imminent capture and put the side of his face flat against the cold damp concrete path. Within seconds he was surrounded by excited police officers and vicious German Shepherd dogs, their white, slimy snapping fangs now clearly visible.
A police launch glided to a halt, its searchlight picking out the prone figure, and the smouldering wreckage of the robot beside him. Just before he was lit up with a jolt from a Taser, the drone crackled, fizzed and popped in defiance as the last of its circuits blew.
John was quickly hog-tied and transported to the nearby
Street Police Station, where he was formally charged with murder, kidnapping and a shed load of terrorist charges. He was now a spent force, but he was happy enough with the outcome. He believed that justice had finally been served for Lynda, and the incarceration and humiliation of the judge had gone almost according to plan in the end. But it wasn’t over just yet as he still had one more move left to play.
“Jesus,” Ryan said, as he shook his head in disbelief.
He put the call through to the police incident coordinator, who told him that John Kane had been captured and was now in custody. Ryan then contacted Doris Clarke’s headquarters to let her know the good news. Her short reply was that he should stand by and wait for further instructions. He started the van and headed for Hounslow barracks.
As the police now had their man it was pretty much game over, and he suspected that at this very moment a reservation was being made for him on the first flight out of
Norton airfield, destination front line in Afghanistan.
Back at the police station John Kane was being interrogated in his cell, and was feeling very much the worse for wear after the sound systematic beating that had been administered to him. The police saw the judge as one of their own, and showed their disapproval of his activities by administering a real good hiding.
“Right Mr Kane, you will be taken to Paddington Green High Security Police Station tomorrow, so tonight you will be our guest. I hope the room service is to your liking? Now, I have your arrest sheet here, and by God you’ll never see the light of a free day again. You’ll be in for the duration, my son, and that’s a fact, so what have you got to say for yourself?” the portly, middle-aged balding inspector said.
“Is the judge alive?” John croaked out through his busted mouth.
“Yes, thank goodness. The police launch got to him just as his toes were leaving the bottom of the boat. He’s suffered a great deal of distress though, and is in intensive care.”
“Good,” John said.
“Is that all you’ve got to say for yourself, you vicious bastard? And just to satisfy my own curiosity, why did you decide to save him?”
“He needed to be taught a painful lesson and I believe I have succeeded. There are many fates worse than death.”
“Oh, I see, so it was all about mental torture, was it? You do know that your bomb killed three good men and those bloody spikes you’d set killed another, don’t you? You’re a maniac, a monster, a bloody menace and an animal, and we have places for animals like you. You’re going to be in one for the rest of your life, and if I had my way I’d bloody string you up just like you did to that poor old judge. It would save wasting all that taxpayers’ money. The problem with your sort is that you think you’re intelligent. Well, you won’t be so clever in a couple of days when you’re standing in the dock of the Old Bailey. We’ll see how clever you are then; you’ll be shitting hot bricks.”
“Those men were sent to kill me and were expert killers trained by the Government. They got what they deserved, and as for the Old Bailey, my trial won’t be there,” John said.
“What? That’s the number one criminal court in the land and you are public enemy number one. Kane, a murderer, a serial killer – no, you’ll be there all right. What’s the matter, you’re not frightened, are you? I believe his bottle’s gone, lads, I’ve seen it all before. A hard man one minute and then the next thing they start blubbering like a little baby.”
“Listen, you clown, my life was over the night my wife was murdered by a scum-sucking piece of shit who was never caught. I’ve been dead ever since that night and all of this means nothing and you mean nothing to me. Vengeance will still be mine,” John said, as he looked the inspector right in the eye.
The Inspector was a little taken aback by this. It wasn’t so much what he said but how he was saying it that frightened him.
“Get him out of here, take his
and then bang him up until the morning. I’ve had enough of him, he’s a bloody
,” the inspector said, as John was dragged off to his cell.
“Hey you, chubby boy, keep your ears open,” John shouted as they kicked and beat him to the floor of his cell.
The heavy door was slammed shut and he could hear the mechanism of the heavy-duty internal steel lock click into place. The officer outside simply wrote
on the board above the hatch on the steel door.